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The need for digital transformation is to “Empower employees, engage customers, optimise operations and transform products”. Microsoft wants to democratise this notion of digital transformation so that every business can truly harness the power of this digital era. It is also trying to change how Microsoft goes to the market and serve customers better with core solution areas to enable digital transformation....


The Microsoft Inspire, organized by Microsoft took place from 9th to 13th July 2017 in Washington D.C. at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. Among the keynote speakers at the event were CEO Satya Nadella; Microsoft President Brad Smith; Gavriella Schuster, Microsoft corporate vice president of the Worldwide Partner Group and Judson Althoff, Microsoft executive vice president, Worldwide Commercial Business. Addressing 17,000 partners from 140 countries, the INSPIRE event was an ideal conference for business and channel leaders in SMB, Corporate Accounts and Enterprise markets and more. 

 

The big idea that came out of this year’s conference was the crystallization of Microsoft’s overall strategy. It’s been a huge year of change for Microsoft as they have realigned their product stack and strategy for moving to cloud-based business solutions. Microsoft remains a partner-focused company, with an unprecedented opportunity and a mission to empower every person and machine on this planet. 

 

“Microsoft partners employ 17 million people around the world and we have 64,000 partners working in cloud services and adding 6,000 new partners each month. These new partners are coming from other ecosystems. That ability for us as a partner-led company and a partner ecosystem to continuously welcome new partners and help them thrive as part of this community can together help us build the future. Microsoft is not only building IT solutions solely to support conspicuous consumption, it is also working to make a positive impact in the world.”


Satya Nadella
CEO – Microsoft

 

In a brief speech, Ron Huddleston, Microsoft corporate vice president and head of the company's One Commercial Partner organization, talked about Microsoft's efforts to create a single point of contact for partners through his operation. He also cited the company's plans to spend $250 million on go-to-market efforts for partners and to hire new channel managers to work with partners in their sales efforts.

 

“Digital transformation represents a massive opportunity and Microsoft has always been a partner-led company, and this ecosystem drives local economies and creates massive growth. Together we have unprecedented opportunity, as technology impacts every aspect of our global society and economy,” explained Satya Nadella, CEO – Microsoft. “Don’t celebrate technology for technology’s sake. Our success is in our customers’ success.”

 

He further added, “Microsoft Inspire is where the world meets to transform business. Companies and businesses are transforming in the digital era. Our mission and our commitment to partners is steadfast, technology and technology paradigms come and go. One such evolution is the move from a mobile-first, cloud-first world, to one that is rooted in the intelligent edge and intelligent cloud. This shift will bring about more digital technology in more mainstream ways into every life and every organization.

 

Your great idea is just the beginning. From there you need to define a sustainable, profitable business model and build a go-to-market plan that gives you customer reach and relevance. Great ideas need great execution to be more than just an academic exercise. I know for a fact that no single approach will work for every partner. Some partners will focus on building a services practice, some will develop a channel, while others will take a more traditional ISV approach. 


Gavriella Schuster
Corporate vice president, the Worldwide Partner Group 
Microsoft 

 

64,000 partners are leading with the cloud solutions. It is high time for shifting IT Priorities and Growing Channel Opportunities. While the world is getting into a digitised mode, business leaders are looking at how they can apply digital technology and build systems of intelligence to rethink on how to empower employees, engage customers, optimise operations and transform products. 

 

Muti-device, Multi-sense: The first is how our digital experience is distributed across and spans devices, big screens, small screens, sensors in a room. The user experience is no longer bound to a device, it travels with you and it’s multi-sense. The experience may start with touch on one device, and end with speech in another device, or ink. Multi-sense is what developers are building for. The experience itself is getting richer and distributed. 

 

AI: Artificial intelligence is getting built into every experience, and we need to take data and compute to where it’s generated. Whether in an autonomous car, on a factory floor, or in a hospital, every one of these experience is going to be powered by AI.

 

Serverless: Finally, you need a backend that facilitates this rich fabric. We are taking a single user experience and making it span multiple devices using emerging technology such as containers and serverless compute. We’re taking this intelligence and distributing it to the edge.

 

Leaders are hungry to empower their employees, transform and shape culture in this rapidly changing work environment. We aspire to build the experiences and tools that make it possible for every professional in any business or functional role to be much more productive in getting things done. 

After empowering people within an organisation, we have to take it a step further, to ensure we are transforming the processes and functions people work within it. Remember, every business process is being digitised. We want to take these systems of intelligence, these feedback loops, and connect them together, so they can provide predictive information.” 

 

Nadella said that while the trend is moving towards Mobile first/cloud first paradigm generating $2.5 trillion in IT spending, that number will surge to $4.5 trillion with the Intelligent Cloud/Intelligent Edge paradigm. This brings an increased opportunity with Digitisation and the opportunity is greater than before as there is no longer a debate about whether to host data in a public or private cloud. “It is clear that what we need is a distributed hybrid cloud infrastructure. The richness of your data should be represented in how it is stored. Finally, we are moving beyond big data and even machine learning capabilities to be able to infuse cognitive capabilities, like computer vision and understanding natural language, into the applications you build. That's because Intelligent Cloud/Intelligent Edge will expand what is generally considered to be "IT systems" today. With increasing digitization, where every part of our society and economy is being fundamentally transformed because of digital technology, the opportunity is greater than ever before," Nadella said.

 

Gavriella Schuster, Microsoft corporate vice president of the Worldwide Partner Group spoke about how partners can turn one’s great idea into a thriving business to drive digital transformation around the world and across industries. “Your great idea is just the beginning. From there you need to define a sustainable, profitable business model and build a go-to-market plan that gives you customer reach and relevance. Great ideas need great execution to be more than just an academic exercise. I know for a fact that no single approach will work for every partner. Some partners will focus on building a services practice, some will develop a channel, while others will take a more traditional ISV approach. However, regardless of which business model works for you, I think there are a few common threads to keep in mind. Here’s what I recommend.

@    Know your customer & your market
@    Grow your technical skills
@    Build repeatable, scalable solutions
@    Innovate”

The Microsoft Inspire event was attended by VARs and partners from across the globe, including 176 from India. From asserting that cloud is foundational to enabling digital transformation to moving beyond big data and even machine learning capabilities, the event proved to be a powerhouse for all the participating partners. 

 

Moving Azure To Hybrid Cloud Environments

Microsoft has had huge success with Azure (cloud computing platform). Now Microsoft is taking steps to move Azure into hybrid cloud environments with the announcement of the general availability of Azure Stack, an extension of Azure.


Microsoft's hardware partners, including Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Dell EMC and Lenovo, will ship Azure Stack with their hardware systems. Microsoft is pricing Azure Stack using pay-as-you-go use and capacity-based models. It is also making available an Azure Stack Development Kit for building and deploying applications for Azure hybrid cloud environments. Microsoft is offering a free single-server deployment option of the SDK for trial purposes.


Lastly, when you think about who you partner with long term, you  have to partner with those who invest, and change, and lead and Microsoft has once again proven that this is them and working with a goal of increasing partner profitability and accelerating business growth.

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